Seahawks offense sails behind Geno Smith, Russell Wilson trade continues to improve

Seahawks offense sails behind Geno Smith, Russell Wilson trade continues to improve

There are a lot of doubts in the seven weeks of the NFL season.

But one thing is becoming increasingly clear. The Seattle Seahawks won the Russell Wilson trade by a landslide.

The Seahawks cruised to a 37-23 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday as perhaps the most surprising 4-3 team in the NFL. They were supposed to be in full rebuild mode while targeting a top pick in next year’s NFL Draft after dealing Wilson to the Denver Broncos. Instead, they sit alone atop the NFC West as trade-acquired 2023 Denver first-round pick Wilson promises to land the premium pick.

Talk about a win-win.

Much of Seattle’s early season success can be attributed to Geno Smith. While Wilson languished in Denver, Smith revived his career in Seattle and became the NFL’s most accurate passer. He entered Sunday with a league-best 73.4 percent completion rate, which he bettered with a 20-of-27 effort against the Chargers.

He’s a man who hasn’t been a regular NFL starter since 2014 and saw his career derailed when a punch broke his jaw in 2015. Few thought the second-round pick of 2013 would start again in the NFL. Yet here he is in 2022 leading a top-10 offense.

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 23: Geno Smith #7 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Inglewood, California.  (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Geno Smith is one of the less expected successes of the 2022 season. (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

Seattle entered Sunday averaging 24.3 points per game, good for ninth place in the NFL. They nailed 37 more on Sunday against a Chargers team that was favored to win by a touchdown. The Seahawks outshot the Chargers, 404 yards to 329 while averaging 6.4 yards per play.

Smith didn’t do it all. Not even close. He passed for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while Seattle’s ground game did the heavy lifting. The Seahawks battered the ball as emerging rookie Kenneth Walker III had 168 of Seattle’s 214 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. It’s a Carroll offense, after all. And Smith is doing exactly what the Seahawks expect of him.

In seven games, Smith averaged 245 passing yards while throwing for 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. These will not be confused with MVP numbers. But they put him squarely in the conversation for Returning Player of the Year. And after six seasons on the bench, he’s proving himself as a more than capable NFL starting quarterback in 2022.

For seven weeks, the same cannot be said for Wilson. He sat Sunday with a hamstring injury as the Broncos fell 2-5 in a loss to the New York Jets as one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments. The Broncos haven’t been better off when he’s on the field.

In his six starts, Wilson completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 240.4 yards per game with five touchdowns and three interceptions for the league’s weakest offense (15.2 ppg). He repeatedly made baffling decisions and struggled with game management alongside his rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett. If his name wasn’t Wilson and his glitzy new contract wasn’t guaranteed to pay him $165 million, the calls for him to be benched would have reached fever pitch by now.

DENVER, COLORADO – OCTOBER 23: Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos watches his team warm up before their game against the New York Jets at Empower Field At Mile High on October 23, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

It’s not the Denver Broncos experience Russell Wilson envisioned. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

About this contract. He just stacks up on the win column for the Seahawks. Instead, it’s the Broncos who are grappling with the salary cap albatross of his five-year contract. And let’s not forget compensation. The Seahawks didn’t just get Denver’s 2023 first-round pick. In exchange for Wilson and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft, Seattle got Denver’s first-, second-, and fifth-round picks. in 2022 and their first- and second-round picks in 2023. Also tight end Noah Fant and quarterback Drew Lock. And these 2023 choices promise to be valuable.

Did we say landslide? Check. It’s a landslide. Especially considering Denver’s 2022 second-round pick allowed Seattle to select Walker and overtake rusher Boye Mafe with back-to-back picks.

The Seahawks don’t have to maintain their momentum for the trade to be a win. They don’t have to make the playoffs or even finish the season with a winning record. It’s not a season with built-in expectations. It’s all gravy.

The Seahawks are winners because Smith is thriving and the Wilson compensation turbo-booster has allowed their rebuild. Meanwhile, Wilson is not.

Is there a chance that Wilson will figure things out in Denver and get the Broncos back on the path to victory? Sure. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt not to be completely written off at this point in his NFL career. But nothing during his first tenure with the team suggests that will happen. He’s 33 and showed signs of decline before landing in Denver.

Betting on Wilson to get back into shape is not wise. The Seahawks saw it and were more than happy to let another team take that risk.


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